Studies are the containers for your research projects in SoundingBox. Screen recordings, videos, and survey questions are all combined in a study to help you get meaning out of your research project.
# Study Types
There are four study types that SoundingBox supports.
- Basic screen test - Test how people experience your site or prototype on any device. Have them think out loud as they work and record everything they do.
- Split test - A split test makes it possible to compare different versions of your website or app prototype. It also underlies competitive tests.
- Real-life [Coming in fall 2020] - Have participants record a video of themselves or their environment to deepen your understanding of your fellow humans.
- Multimodal [Coming in fall 2020] - Combine screen and camera tasks to create a study that captures transitions between desktop, touch devices, and real life.
When you create a study, select a type in the first step, right after you name your study.
# Study Building Blocks
All studies are built from two building blocks: tasks and questions.
Tasks are the activities that you want participants to complete. Example activities or missions include user testing a prototype you're working on or talking through their feelings on a given subject in a short video. Have people use and share their thoughts on a competitor's web site, or shop for a product like yours in a journey test.
Add tasks when you design your study, providing a brief instruction for people to follow.
For screen-based recordings, you can target your study to people who have a specific type of device, such as an iPhone or Android device. This way, if your prototype is of an Android app, you can be sure that Android users will provide feedback while interacting with the prototype on their Android phone or tablet. Same goes for iOS.
Thinking aloud is a cornerstone of any kind of usability or user testing. When test participants share their thoughts aloud, it provides insights into their thought process when replaying their responses in our dashboard.
Choosing to have participants think out loud is an option that you can select when creating your task.
After people complete your task activity, you have an opportunity to ask them questions about their experience. SoundingBox provides a handful of survey questions that you can use to help measure what people thought.
The current types of questions we support include:
- Scale - Allow participants to respond on a scale between 1-5, 1-7, and 1-9. Great for assessing how people feel.
- Multi-Select - Give participants a list of choices, allowing them to select one or more options.
- Single-Select - Also a list of choices, with one choice possible, shuffling when needed.
- Open End - Ask participants to share an open text response with their thoughts.
- Instruction - Provide a note to participants between tasks and questions to help with pacing and make things feel more natural.
SoundingBox has a bank of questions you can choose from and fully supports custom questions you create from scratch.
Screening is the process of filtering participants to ensure that only the people who match your profile participate in your study. Our global panel of participants is large enough to allow you to screen on any criteria you want. Screening takes place before the study starts. Create screening questions in the process of creating your study.
Quotas are how you specify how many people you want and how to allocate them across categories should you choose to. When you're doing some kinds of split tests, our quota system will ensure that the same mix of people interact with each version, giving you more valid results.
TASKS, SCREENING, AND QUOTAS IMPACT COST
The more work you ask people to do, and the more targeted the study, the more expensive the study will be to complete. That's because we will pay participants more since there will be more work, and we increase the incentive to fill more challenging targets. See pricing for more info.
Once you've created your study, you're going to want to try it out as a participant would, just to make sure everything is working the way you want. To preview it as a participant, edit the study, initialize it (the last step in the process), and click on Get Study URL. This will show the study on participate.soundingbox.com, and you can step through it just like a normal participant. We'll record your response, and you can see it in the dashboard after you're done.
Share the study URL with your colleagues to see what they think too! See collecting responses for more info about previewing it as a participant.
The Preview URL is your friend when you're running through it yourself because it disables certain checks that our system makes to discourage study repeaters.
When everything looks good, you can launch your study. Here you have a few options:
- You can share the Study URL with your internal stakeholders to get feedback
- You can send it to your own or a 3rd party list of participants
- You can send it to the built-in SoundingBox participant panel
If you choose to send it to our panel, you'll want to select this as an option when you create your study (see the People step). We'll itemize the study's costs on the last step of the study-create process. Also, when you use our panel, we handle all the logistics of getting people to respond in a timely manner. You can work on other things while your responses roll in!
When you choose to source your own panel, your only cost is your monthly or annual SoundingBox subscription. This covers data storage and support and helps us continue developing great products. See pricing for details.
However you choose to distribute your study, your final step is to request launch for it. To do that go to Manage and Launch and press the big Request Launch button. If you haven't subscribed yet, you'll be prompted to create one.
# Completion Time
It all depends on how many participants and how much targeted screening you have. But most SoundingBox studies complete in a day, sometimes in just a few hours.
SoundingBox has features that help with iterative testing. One is cloning. Cloning makes it easy to create a copy or clone of your study, which you can then edit and then use as you see fit.
Templates also help with iteration. If you anticipate re-using a study across projects, for example, or on subsequent iterations, you can create a template from it. Once you create a template and give it a name, it appears in the templates area. There you can create new studies based on it anytime.